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Topic: Building a Sukkah (Jewish Hut) - please help! (bit photo-heavy)  (Read 10628 times)
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Two-headed girl
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« on: August 15, 2008 02:20:42 AM »

Hi all

Ok, so it's a long time until Sukkot (the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, or Booths - we build huts (sukkot, singular is sukkah) in our gardens and eat there every day of our 8-day harvest festival). BUT, this is my first year building my own (only recently religious), and if I want my halls of residence to let me build one this year, they're going to know exactly what I plan to do.

Some sukkah pictures to give you an idea:

A super fancy-schmancy one, although bizarrely it's indoors!

Humbler specimens:

You can get pop-up sukkah kits, but they are very expensive - 100 + pp (that's about $200). I can't really afford that on a student's budget, and I don't think I'll find enough observant Jews to share the cost with at this new place.

Has anyone built a sukkah? Can you give me any advice on building a cheaper version, preferably without a huge time investment (Sukkot this year falls right in the middle of my first term of super-intensive Masters course - ironically, in Jewish Studies  Roll Eyes)

There are a few rules:

- the sukkah must have at least 3 walls
- the sukkah must be roofed with natural materials that once grew from the ground, but that have now been   cut from the tree.
- you have to be able to see the stars through the roof
- the walls have to be temporary
- I need to be able to eat in there!

In short, how do I build this darned thing? Any advice you have, or ideas, very gratefully received!

« Last Edit: August 15, 2008 02:26:47 AM by sophieangele » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2008 06:48:19 AM »

Depending on how natural the roof is, you could use thin bamboo fabric (if there is such a thing).  Technically, it would be something that grew from the ground, and was cut.  Barring that, it should be fairly easy to make a frame with pieces of PVC pipe, and cover the frame with fabric, maybe using branches from a bush or a tree (get permission, of course) for the roof.

to get an idea of how the PVC pipe looks, here's a link:  https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=244488.0

In this case, you'd assemble the PVC pipe, then put the fabric over the outside (which could be tied on, or you could make channels to slip the PVC pipe through). Then put on your roof.  If you do whatever you need to the fabric well ahead of time, the actual assembly shouldn't take very much time out of your schedule.

Maybe someone else will have a better idea, though.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2008 06:51:09 AM by Muria » THIS ROCKS   Logged


Where did all this fabric come from? I CAN'T have bought THAT much!
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2008 10:17:08 AM »

The attached link seems to be fairly straight forward and not too expensive.  Basically you insert 2x4 uprights into the holes in cement blocks, stablize at the top with some 1X2 lumber.  The sides could be repurposed sheets or similar fabric.  Perhaps you could contact a landscaping company to get some pruned tree boughs.  HTH. http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Sukkot/Overview_Sukkot_at_Home/Sukkah/Isaacs_Laws_339/Building_Sukkah.htm

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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2008 10:48:13 PM »

Thanks for your advice, both of you!

I should probably clarify - building the roof isn't a problem, it's trying to build a structure that I think will be tricky. I've sat in a lot of sukkot, but never actually built one of them myself

I've seen the myjewishlearning one, but the problem with that is it requires you to have a bunch of cement blocks lurking - sadly not, in the English country village where I'm building it. It would also be impossible because I'm in a wheelchair and couldn't physically lift them.

The PVC piping is a good idea - I'll need to investigate the cost, and work out a way to weight the sukkah so that it didn't blow away, but otherwise that might just work Smiley 


« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2008 05:41:59 PM »

You could go get a bunch of tent stakes and some rope to help anchor it.  You might have to add some sort of adhesive to keep the walls from separating when you add the roof.  I haven't really built anything with PVC pipe, so I don't know what kind of weight the roof can be before it will affect the structure.

Good luck with it!


Where did all this fabric come from? I CAN'T have bought THAT much!
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2008 11:44:45 AM »

do you know anyone who does outdoor crafts fairs or farmers markets?  Vendors often use canopies with metal frames and canvas tops.  They're costly, but if you could borrow one, you would probably leave off the canvas top and substitute branches, and add fabric or lattice or whatever walls.

roofed with natural materials that have been grown in the ground but are now cut from the tree?  Well, this may be getting Jesuitical Cheesy, but cotton and rayon and linen are made from plant materials; rayon is actually made from wood...


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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2008 12:52:48 PM »

I hope its not too late but for my Mum and Dads wedding anniversary we needed cheap shelters in case it rains so we bought some garden gazebos (really cheap at the mo - look at argos- some for about 10) and some big old shower curtains (dont laugh!) and attached them to the sides to make the whole thing waterproof and with walls. The gazebos come with tent peg things to anchor them down so it should survive some wind hopefully! You could always cut away the roof a bit and add some branches etc to see the stars.
hope that helps and good luck!
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2008 03:07:35 AM »

Not trying to be nosy, but was wondering if you resolved your problem in building your Sukkah?
I would suggest to talk with the spiritual leader at your school or even as other students if they were interested in building one.  Maybe getting advice at the local synagogue.  I'm sure someone will help.  It is after all a mitzvah to build one.  Good luck and Chag Sameah.
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